Interview with William Zwicker

Can you present your research during your stay at CY AS?

On October 26, 2021 I presented a Fellow-in-Residence seminar at MIR, entitled "Three topics in the mathematical social sciences."  In addition, I presented recent work at two research seminars held at CYU while I was in residence during Fall 2021.  One was at the THEMA seminar: "John Nash meets Jorge Hirsch: scale invariant citation indices."  The other was at the Economics Department Theory seminar: "Fair division of graphs and tangled cakes."   

Does the Fellows-in-Residence program meet your objectives in terms of research and scientific collaboration?

The opportunities for research and scientific collaboration were plentiful.  In particular, my collaboration with Marcus Pivato on a longstanding open problem was rewarding; while the problem remains open, we made substantial progress.  This was a new joint project, although I had worked on the problem over a decade earlier. I also collaborated with two computer scientists at Université Paris Dauphine on a project we started some time ago – we are now close to submitting a paper.

I can understand why the Fellows-in-Residence program would like to serve as fertile ground for collaborations that are newly forged at MIR, but in my case I already had connections with Marcus Pivato and with one of the two computer scientists at Dauphine.  I tend to believe that prior connections make successful collaboration more likely – it is difficult to force these things.

Describe your impressions of your experience at CY AS

The staff and leadership were outstanding -- supportive, responsive, and friendly.  The facilities are top notch.  The other fellows were a diverse and impressive group.  While my interactions with them did not lead to any research projects, I felt my time at CY AS was substantially enriched by their presence.

What will this research period bring to you and to your home university?

To my home university, there will not be much impact -- it is small and so there are few specialists in my area.  However, I belong to a broader research community, consisting of economists, mathematicians, and computer scientists with a shared interest in applications to the social sciences: social choice, game theory, judgement aggregation, etc.  I do expect there to be benefits for this broader community – for example in terms of seminar presentations and publications.  In fact, Zoi Terzopoulou (a computer scientist at Paris Dauphine) has already given several seminars on a joint project with Jérôme Lang and me; those presentations include some material we developed during my residence at CY AS. 

Do you have other plans for the future, other destinations in mind?

I hope (COVID permitting) to attend a Dagstuhl seminar on participatory budgeting in early July -- these are held in Saarbrücken, Germany.  As part of that trip, I may add research visits to Berlin and to Warsaw.  Another visit to Paris is probably in the cards.  Meanwhile, I have two research projects to wrap up, in terms of finalizing papers for submission.